Malcolm Pein on…Bullet Chess Experts


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Malcolm Pein presents two games by Bullet Chess experts in today’s Daily Telegraph column – one of whom is none other than the World Champion himself, Magnus Carlsen.

Malcolm Pein on…Bullet Chess Experts

Magnus Carlsen’s embrace of Internet chess is not confined to the innovative tournaments his company PlayMagnus Chess 24 has staged since lockdown began. The World Champion frequently takes on all-comers at Bullet Chess on the LiChess server and plays matches against leading exponents of this super-fast form of the game.

Bullet Chess time limits are 1-0, which is one minute for all moves and no increment, 1-1, one minute for all moves plus one second added to the clock for every move made and 2-1.

Carlsen recently accepted a challenge from Bullet Chess expert IM Andrew Tang and, for two and half hours, they battled away with Carlsen emerging victorious 54.5-33.5. Tang landed some hefty blows:

M. Carlsen – A. Tang
Centre Game 1+0

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qc4 (Carlsen’s version of the Centre Game bears some similarity to the Scandinavian Defence, but with an extra tempo, which is e2– e4. In the Scandinavian after 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qc5? would allow 4.d4) 4…Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 (Also the best recipe against the standard 4.Qe3) 6.Bd2 0–0 7.0–0–0 Re8 8.f3 d6 9.g4 Be6 10.Qe2 Nd4 (10…d5!?) 11.Qf2 c5 12.Nge2 Qb6 13.a3 (13.g5 Nd7 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Na4 Qa5 16.Bxb4 Qxa4 17.Qxd4 Qxa2 18.f4 looks good) 13…Bxa3!? 14.bxa3 Nxc2 (Excellent bullet play, unsound but bamboozling) 15.Kxc2 (15.Bg5 Qb3 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Ng3! was one good line) 15…Qb3+ 16.Kd3?? (After 16.Kc1 Qxa3+ 17.Kb1 Qb3+ Black draws by perpetual check)

Test Your Strength

M. Carlsen – A. Tang

Black to play and mate in two moves

A. Tang – M. Carlsen
Benko Gambit 1+0

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a65.e3 e6 6.Nc3 exd5 7.Nxd5 Bb7 8.Nc3 (8.Nxf6+ Qxf6 9.Nf3 is best) 8…Be7 9.Nf3 0–0 10.Be2 axb5 11.Bxb5 d5 (Black has excellent compensation for the pawn and his moves flow easily) 12.0–0 Nbd7 13.a4 Bd6 14.h3 Qe7 15.b3 Ne5 16.Be2? (16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.f4 Qxc3 18.Bd2 Qb2 19.Rb1 Qa2 20.Ra1 forces a draw, as the queen cannot escape and cannot be trapped)

Test Your Strength

Bullet Chess Experts

Black to play and win

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answers.

Answer 1: 16…Bc4+ 17.Ke3 Nd5# 0–1

Answer 2: 16…Nxf3+ 17.Bxf3 Qe5 0–1 Qxc3 and Qh2# cannot both be prevented.

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